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"The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works."

So he got the newspaper thing (partially) wrong. The government hasn't changed, nor has education. The truth of the education thing is this: you can learn anything on your own, but a teacher can tell you in 20 minutes what might take you a month to figure out by yourself. Government will take a long time to change. And (many) more people still rely on mainstream media outlets for their news than any other source (though they may get their news from said media outlet's online presence, rather than their print one.

http://www.khanacademy.org/ I'm positive that guy is a better math teacher than any classroom math teacher I've had, and everyone around the world can access it for free. An online teacher can be just as real as a classroom teacher. Online there is less distraction than sitting in the middle or back of a lecture, and you can control the pace to absorb every point by pausing and rewinding rathering than worrying about simultaneously copying notes before they are erased.

a teacher can tell you in 20 minutes what might take you a month to figure out by yourself.

A teacher who is obstinate in pressing mistaken notions on students can also undo in twenty minutes a month of the students gaining correct understanding by themselves.

What in-person teachers plainly provide better than online teachers is baby-sitting. What they usually do with more regulatory acceptance than online teachers is provide seat-time credentials.



for some critiques of school from the same era as the submitted article.

The internet allows everyone access competent teachers. There are so many learning resources with videos and how-to articles on a large range of topics. And the resources are extremely up-to-date. When something new is out you don't have to wait for an update to a textbook to be published or a teacher to learn it and include it in a lesson plan.

Teachers are only useful if they interact with you. Otherwise it's no better than a book.

Mentorship. That's what makes teaching useful.

I'm talking about good teachers, not cheap public high-school instructors.

Education has transformed significantly since 1995 because of the internet. Some good, some not so good.


Considering even the vaunted and once-great New York Times is having trouble just staying afloat due to online competition, I wouldn't say his newspaper point is partially wrong, it's entirely wrong. The internet has mopped the floor so hard with the newspaper industry it really can't be seen as anything but a complete coup.

Also, I disagree that most people will get their news from mainstream sources - personally with the recent Haiti situation I got far more up-to-the-minute news breaks from Facebook, Twitter, and other such sources than I ever got from CNN and the likes. In fact, I would say breaking news is something large news organizations are likely to lose entirely. Nowadays my only mainstream media consumption is almost entirely well-written essays and analyses on things, not raw reporting on a recent event. I predict as the "physical media" generation ages, and the young grow up with the internet being pervasive in their lives, this pattern will only continue to grow.

Considering that I can get a Masters in Computer Science from UIUC online, I beg to differ. http://cs.illinois.edu/online

Internet is already influencing governments to some extent. Rally in Moldova last year (which become a riot) was organized mostly with Twitter and Facebook.

For the point about government, see Wikileaks and Twitter/Youtube following the Iran election.

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